As Sajid Javid departs, the Tory Islamophobia scandal reaches a new low

Boris Johnson visiting a mosque when running for London Mayor in 2008.

The promised inquiry into Islamophobia is non-existent, and the party fails to truly reprimand those who legitimise anti-Muslim hate.

The resignation of Sajid Javid, the Conservative Party’s highest-ranking Muslim cabinet minister, comes in a fortnight when the party has hit a new low in its handling of Islamophobia.

Let us not forget that the departing chancellor had promised to hold an inquiry into the party’s tolerance of Islamophobia after the Muslim Council of Britain and others documented mounting evidence of anti-Muslim racism.

We were told there would be zero-tolerance to all forms of racism, but there is still no specific inquiry on the cards.

Only last week, we learned that the Tory backbench MP Daniel Kawczynski chose to travel to Italy for a nationalist far-right conference, speaking alongside figures who famously voice Islamophobic and anti-Semitic views, including the Hungarian PM, Viktor Orbán.

Kawczynski was not there to challenge but to hear people who “represent serious ideas and concerns, some of which are shared by many citizens of the UK”.

His actions were met with public condemnation by religious groups and anti-racist allies. It was only then that the Conservative Party “formally warned” him that his attendance “was not acceptable” (plus, in the party’s words, “Kawczynski has accepted this and apologised”).

It seems CCHQ’s “zero-tolerance policy” on racism didn’t extend to suspending him, investigating how he was allowed to attend, or withdrawing the whip.

Another prominent Conservative politician, the former MEP Daniel Hannan, despite his at times commendable take on Muslims, spoke at the very same conference last year and even appeared at a Los Angeles conference organised by an “anti-Muslim” group and headlined by British far-right activist Katie Hopkins. He is being honoured by the Conservative Party.

From all this evidence, it is difficult not to form the conclusion that the party does not truly care about being tough on racism, as long as it can pretend to look tough on racism.

This tepid commitment to fighting bigotry was demonstrated in full force when, on Sunday, the government seemingly abandoned its own adviser on the Islamophobia definition, Imam Qari Asim after a non-story in the Sunday Times. Asim was reported as having explained how some Muslims may have different understandings of free speech. Let us not forget that he was appointed to the role after the government refused to endorse a definition of Islamophobia formulated by British Muslims at a grassroots level.

Following Asim’s observations of other people’s views (not his own), Trevor Phillips, former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Conservative MP Bob Seely and ideological cheerleaders including the Henry Jackson Society, Policy Exchange, Civitas, Quilliam and the Heritage Foundation erupted in faux rage and called for his resignation.

Contrast this with the Imam’s support from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and the Board of Deputies, which represents British Jews, who rallied around him – and yet the government refused to defend him (according to the Sunday Times …read more

Source:: New Statesman


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